Earhart Dig - Day 3
Expedition Shifts Gears
By Cassandra Frost
The Tinian Earhart Expedition finished their third day of digging and a new course is being charted.
Today, Sunday, Dr. Tom King and Dr. Karin Burns, two of the on-site anthropologists, flew back stateside to teach.
Can you imagine their Monday lectures?
Or maybe Tuesday lectures because it will take Dr. Burns about 24 hours to fly from Tinian to the University of Georgia, where she is an assistant professor.
Much like Indiana Jones' classroom, can you see a lecture hall filling with students, clueless as to what their jet-lagged professor did over the weekend.
The same holds true for Dr. Hiro Kurashina, an Archeological Historical Preservationist professor from the University of Guam, who, along with six students, flew from Tinian back home on Sky Blue Air, courtesy of Joe Edhlund. The students have experiences and stories to tell their grandchildren about how they were part of the dig for Amelia Earhart's remains.
As for Saint John Naftel, the 82 year old USMC gunner's mate who was shown the gravesites in 1944?
His clothes are still lost.
And, like the Charlie Daniel's song, they are "Still in Saigon." They were shipped there instead of Saipan. Naftel is scheduled to fly back home to Alabama on Wednesday.
At least he probably won't have to do much laundry. Those who are still on Tinian are still wet, sweaty and dirty.
Bedtime is usually about 9 p.m. because everyone is so tired.
"No one really drinks nor does anyone here really party," said Bob Silvers, expedition spokesman. "Though at the end of the day when we were here last year, I remember Naftel wanting to go fool around at the casino when we were all exhausted."
Saturday night, a huge fiesta was held for the two dozen expeditioners.
"The food was really fantastic," Silvers said. "They brought in deep water fish from Yap and bar-b-qued a fresh suckling pig. A rosary was held by a local family so they expanded it to a dinner for us. We had beef dishes and things that were just out of this world. About 200 people showed up. Kids were running around. Families were there. It was just great."
The whole island is taking care of the crew who are funding the expedition themselves. They are paying their own way to fly to and stay on this isolated Pacific island in their search for the remains of Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan.
A quick online check of fares flying from places like Alabama and Georgia to Saipan on Continental airlines shows that a one-way ticket costs almost $2,000. That's ONE way.
The Tinian Dynasty hotel rates are from $260 to $350 a night. The expedition has also rented a van and 2 cars. There are no Dennys or McDonalds on the island. A trip like this is not cheap.
"The mayor of San Jose is making sure we have water and snacks," Silvers said. "Everyone is really trying to help."
This morning, the group went to the house of the owner/operator of the only backhoe on Tinian, woke him up and asked if he could please help them continue looking for road marks.
"The backhoe owner/operator did four scrapes for us today, Silvers continued. "He's also a road builder. We're excited because his scrapes revealed coral laid out in ways that are not natural and in a way that was used for road foundations."
"We've gotten some pre-war Japanese maps, some U.S. Seabee maps and found a 1944 aerial photograph of the area," Silvers explained.
Now, the expedition will move from the dirty sweaty digging part to the high tech detective part.
"Our next step is cartographic correlation. We will combine our Global Positioning System or GPS coordinates, and with computer aided mapping overlays, try to determine where the road along a cliff' is."
"We're also using GPS coordinates to record where we have been to make sure we don't back track. The sites are being re-covered to return the land to its original condition," Silvers continued.
The next steps will take place Monday at the CNMI Office of Historical Preservation on Saipan where software will be used for the overlays.
"We need to find the old road," Silvers said. "We need an accurate delineation to follow. We need an accurate location so we can determine where to dig next."
"We're hoping that FedEx will help us by taking aerial photographs so we can correlate with the 1944 aerial picture we got from a museum in Hawaii," he continued.
"This dig has shown us lots of interesting things," Silvers continued. "Today, I went exploring in the jungle and crawled through a hole and found a cave. It looks like the Japanese may have been hiding there because I found old Sake bottles, old shoes, old military rations containers; things like that. I also found a bird's nest with eggs in it and nearby, a young Monitor lizard about a foot and a half long."
In spite of not finding any human remains yet, are they still hopeful?
"Though we're all sweaty, dirty and tired," Silvers concluded, "both Saint John Naftel and Jennings Bunn are confident that she's here somewhere and it's just a matter of time before she's (Amelia Earhart) is found."
The Expedition's website is
Cassandra 'Sandy' Frost is an award winning e-journalist and editor who has covered the topics of Intuition, Remote Viewing and Consciousness from an Athabascan or Alaska Native point of view the past three years.
More of her articles can be found at:



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